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New Drug Proves Encouraging For Jails And Prisons

The link between criminal activity and drug use has always been well documented. That trend has continued, with over eighty percent of the U.S. prison population being incarcerated for alcohol or drug related offenses. In fact, many jails and prisons have evolved into detoxification centers to meet the growing need.

However, these detox centers are not as helpful as they could by, utilizing cold-turkey methods that lead to high rates of relapse and a return to a life of crime. As their drug addiction cycle continues, taxpayers are forced to bear the brunt of incarceration. In the end, the impact on the addict will worsen as they head to a life of jails, institutions, and death.

With the heroin crisis gripping the entire nation and overdoses spiraling out of control, breaking the revolving door for drug addicted criminals has become a priority. Trumbull County is creating a cross agency pilot program which is working towards closing that gap. The Mental Health and Recovery Board have joined with the county’s common pleas court as well as the Trumbull sheriff’s department.

This new program is modeled after Direct Link, a program that was started last year that used Vivitrol, an intramuscular drug. This program has been a success, with seventy to seventy five percent of the former program members staying off drugs. With the current twenty percent success rates within jails and prison, one can see why many are viewing Vivitrol as a “wonder drug.”

Vivitrol: Benefits of the Wonder Drug

Vivitrol comes with a wide variety of different benefits. In fact, the director of the National Institute for Drug Abuse, Nor Volkow, has called the approval of the drug a crucial “turning point in the approach to drug treatment.” The benefits of Vivitrol, as cited by the NIDA, are:

-This drug is not addictive and does not have any mind or mood altering effects for the users. Vivitrol does not have any street value and has very little potential for abuse, which is drastically different from the current opiate addiction medications.

- This drug has an amazingly long effect on the body. Every injection will take effect within two days and last for a full thirty days.

- There are very few side effects from using this drug, and has been well-tolerated by most who have used it.

- This drug works effectively. FDA clinical trials showed that those who were treated with Vivitrol were far more likely to stay in drug and alcohol treatment and abstain from using drugs.

The benefits of this drug show how valuable it could be for prisons and jails across the country. However, the price of this drug is currently exorbitant with one dose of Vivitrol costing $1,000. Even with the high costs, the current trials in Trumbull County jail has continued with the cost of the medication borne by the inmate’s family if they volunteer for the test. There is hope for more funding for this life saving drug, as Toledo has a program that was fueled by grants.

The positive results have made seeking grant resources worth the trouble, and many different jails are seeking funding. Drug abuse agencies, courts, and corrections are all on the search for additional funding to pay for programs such as these.

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